Town is on the up!

Glynis Fox discovers how Gainsborough is looking forward to a brighter future.

The popular market town is raising its game with the help of The National Lottery, Government funding and rising retail footfall.

Regeneration is a big issue for the historic heart of the town, where improvements continue to unfold thanks to WLDC’s success in being awarded £1.25 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the repair, restoration and regeneration of buildings as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

That money has since been boosted by the significant award of £3.25m from the Levelling Up Fund.

Together with Council and other contributions this has created a pot worth just under £5m.

On another upbeat note, businesses and communities in West Lindsey are also poised to benefit from £2.7m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), thanks to a successful bid by WLDC.

Meanwhile Marshall’s Yard has reported that its units are 100 per cent taken.

Before Christmas, experienced townscape heritage officer Jonathan Lee, who is leading the THI, took UK National Lottery Heritage Fund officials on a tour of the town, stopping off at the first property which has benefited from grant funding.

Their visit also provided the perfect occasion for him to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing Gainsborough.

“It is important that we maintain these great relationships with The National Lottery Heritage Fund team.

Giving them the chance to have a tour around the town gave us the opportunity to showcase our plans and show how much of a difference the grants will make and have already made,” said Jonathan.

The THI is working hard to reverse the town’s decline by offering substantial grants towards costs that will be incurred in renovating buildings, bringing empty properties back into use and maximising the potential for them to be used again.

Andy Hurley was the first property owner to receive grant funding for his premises at 27-29 Lord Street, where comprehensive repairs have been made to sash windows, brick and stonework, rainwater goods and two traditional shopfronts. He has also converted the derelict property next door into three shops housing local carpet, pet grooming and fashion accessories businesses.

Jonathan said there is potential interest in 27-29 Lord Street and the initiative has already seen four projects underway and a further six are on the starting blocks. By awarding the grants and raising people’s awareness of Gainsborough’s fascinating history – through a variety of community events – the THI is playing an active role in attracting new visitors to the town.

Andy Hurley added: “The (revamped) shopfronts are looking amazing and we are in talks with a couple of prospective tenants. I can’t thank everyone who has been involved enough.”

WLDC director of planning, regeneration and communities, Sally Grindrod-Smith said: “Restoring the heritage of our town centre is a key pillar of our £18m Levelling Up Thriving Gainsborough programme.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be able to see progress on the ground. We know from our wide-ranging activities programme that the heritage of our town is something that our community is rightly incredibly proud of.

“I’m also grateful to National Lottery players for their contribution to the project, without whom awards from The National Lottery Heritage Fund would not be made possible.”

The THI’s work in helping people to learn more about Gainsborough heritage has seen its involvement in a variety of community engagement events, including:
• The Great Gainsborough Treasure Hunt, where more than 10,000 booklets were collected
• A Walk Through Time heritage trail booklet, which takes people on a 90-minute walk and brings the town’s history to life, which has proved popular
• The Big Draw: This involved 150 residents taking part in a free workshop at Sweet Caroline’s where they created lanterns, ahead of taking part in the town’s Illuminate Festival.

In more good news, WLDC is working with the Government to launch two flagship grant schemes by April.

An announcement that district businesses and communities are to benefit from a £2.7 m award from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) follows a successful council bid and its submission of plans to support rural community infrastructure and connectivity and rural businesses through the investment of just under £800,000 as part of the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF).

In order to tap into the Fund, the council had to identify activities that matched its objectives and tackled local business and community challenges. Four specific interventions were selected by the Council for Government approval:
• Supporting non-agricultural farm diversification
• Supporting the development of West Lindsey’s agri-tech sector
• Improved community broadband provision and rural connectivity
• Improving the rural community infrastructure

WLDC Councillor Owen Bierley, leader of West Lindsey District Council said: “We’re delighted to finally hear that our plans for UKSPF have been supported by the Government. I’m confident that our communities and businesses will soon start to see the benefits.

“REPF provides us with an excellent, locally-led opportunity to build on the impact of the wider interventions proposed in our UKSPF Investment Plan, supporting specific activities that have often missed out on accessible funding historically.”

Marshall’s Yard’s managers are delighted to report that its retail space is now taken.

A spokeswoman said: “As we continue to settle into a post-pandemic era, the resilience of bricks and mortar retail is evident as Marshall’s Yard in Gainsborough demonstrates.”

The impact of Covid-19 was felt deeply at the 15-year-old shopping centre, with a number of large retailers closing down, including Laura Ashley, Halfords, New Look and DW Fitness.

The centre bounced back with a stronger food and beverage offer, with the opening of Caldero Lounge, and attracted more homeware and essential stores such as JYSK and The Range to the line-up, creating strong footfall to the centre and appealing to changing consumer needs.

Estates director for Dransfield Properties, James Shepherd, said: “A combination of Covid and company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) saw a spike in store closures. However we’ve been pleased with the centre’s performance and its ability to attract well-known national brands as well as high-quality independent businesses, which has always contributed towards the centre’s diversity and popularity.”

Independent store Browns celebrated its 10th year at Marshall’s Yard last year and has been quick to soak up brands leaving the centre over the years, ensuring it stocks popular labels such as Joules and Seasalt following its departure. This has kept the Yard shopper happy and allowed Browns to continue to evolve, keeping things fresh and interesting, said a spokeswoman.

Centre manager at Marshall’s Yard, Jodie Pacey, said: “Marshall’s Yard has always been more than a place to carry out shopping for people. It’s an oasis for families, couples, friends and all other parts of the community to come together, enjoy the outdoors and connect with people.

“Our need for products and services is ever-changing but the drive to interact with people and experience social landscapes is consistent, if not more important to people than ever,” she said.

Marshall’s Yard continues to give back to the community by holding free family events and through its ongoing work with local charities.

Rich and varied, the town’s history is fascinating and visitors can easily uncover it by taking ‘A Walk Through Time’.

This 90-minute stroll is outlined in a Discover Gainsborough guide, produced by West Lindsey District Council in partnership with the Gainsborough Heritage Centre – as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund).

Gems along the route include the town’s famous Old Hall.

Then there’s the Old Nick Theatre and Police Museum. The Divisional Headquarters for the Lincolnshire Constabulary from 1860 to 1972, it was also a Magistrates Court until 1976.

The building originally featured a residence for the police superintendent and his family, until 1952. That has since been recreated to show it as it would have looked during the Victorian period. Visitors can enjoy taking a trip back in time to Victorian policing and also explore the cells, exercise and charge room.

Prepare to learn about many county murderers and their subsequent punishments. Displays include an original 1950s police box (as used in Doctor Who) and a restored set of pillory stocks.

In 1980 the Gainsborough Theatre Club moved into the building, paying a peppercorn rent to a Douglas Parkinson. This allowed people to rehearse and perform in the old Magistrates’ Court, which went on to be converted into a theatre in the round. Mr Parkinson, who died in 1979, bequeathed the venue to Gainsborough Theatre Club on condition that it continued to be used as a theatre.

Early 18th-century All Saints’ Church stands on the ground of a former medieval church – and the earliest mention of the original is in 1185. That was when it was given by the Lord of Gainsborough Manor, Roger de Talbot, to the Knights Templar.

Thomas, the first Lord Burgh, had a private chapel at the site, adjacent to his home, the Old Hall. The only part of the original church which survives is the tower.

Interestingly, the gravestone of Captain Cook’s sailmaker, Richard Rollett, can be found in the entranceway.

The ‘A Walk Through Time’ brochure is crammed with many more interesting facts and places of note to visit in Gainsborough. It can be downloaded via

A high-quality independent coffee bar has taken over the former Fatface unit at Marshall’s Yard and, as we went to press, it was hoping to open this spring. No. 17 will be providing high quality drinks and food in a contemporary environment and catering for visitors to the centre from breakfast to late evening.

Its signature cocktail, lager and wine menu will sit alongside its range of hot drinks. No. 17 will be a proud stockist of 200 Degrees coffee, which will be expertly served by trained staff in-house or can be bought to take away and brew at home.

Owners of No. 17, David Muscroft and Michelle Sargeson, are passionate about good food and coffee and are excited to be embarking on this new business.

David said: “We are thrilled with how the plans and designs are shaping up for our new venture. We feel Marshall’s Yard is the perfect location for us, being at the heart of this wonderful market town amongst a thriving retail line-up and complementary food and drink outlets. Our love of a great dining environment really is second only to our love for great coffee, food and cocktails.”

In addition to a great selection of drinks, No. 17 will be serving up tasty plates of food, with fresh pasties, cheese and charcuterie featuring on the menu.

Next door Specsavers is currently fitting out its new larger premises ready for opening to the public in March. Announcements will be made soon on the new occupier of Specsavers’ former unit, leading to the centre being fully let. No. 17 will be recruiting 12 staff and more information on these jobs and details on how to apply are expected to appear on the Marshall’s Yard website

Located in the heart of the town, next to the River Trent, the Clock House Gastrobar has become firmly established as the town’s popular “must visit” bar and restaurant.

The warm and inviting venue offers relaxed, atmospheric and stylish dining and drinking, with a range of seasonal menus, including breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea and coffee and cake, as well as delicious Sunday Roasts, steaks and burgers, made with fresh ingredients.

Don’t miss the extensive range of hand-crafted cocktails and premium and artisan spirits, as well as a unique draught and craft beer and cider selection, plus a wide choice of wines and champagnes.

With its helpful, friendly staff and extensive choice of all-day menus, the Clock House is the perfect place to meet up with friends and loved ones, with a characterful private dining area also available for special celebrations.

Check out the in-house butchery, the Meatery, where all the “field to fork” produce is sourced locally and prepared from scratch on the premises, with home cured bacon and ham, free range pork, homemade sausages, burgers and lots more on offer.

Food served Tuesday to Sunday from 9am-9pm (8pm on Sundays).

For more information visit

Walters Opticians is a family run business which opened its doors in the heart of Gainsborough 24 years ago, and then another practice in North Hykeham a few years later.

Keeping up with regular eye exams is extremely important and Walters offers many services at both practices including:
• Private and NHS eye examinations
• Contact lens clinics with access to the best contact lenses currently available which suit all individual lives and budgets
• Tear clinics specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of Dry eye
• Colorimetry/Visual stress tests
• A huge selection of many well-known designer brands for both ophthalmic and sunglass frames such as Gucci, Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo and Dior.

“In our Gainsborough Practice we have invested in a Heidelberg OCT retinal scanning machine, used for all examinations. The machine takes detailed scans of the back of the eye – we also use the machine for private extended scans for a more in-depth investigation. And as an independent optician we make sure that we offer the very top-quality lenses on the market. We proudly offer Essilor lenses, the world’s leading brand for varifocals. We can offer a Varilux lens which is a bespoke lens made uniquely for you.”

34-36 Market Place, Gainsborough DN21 2BY
Tel: 01427 616505 or contact

Find out about Keepmoat’s new Warren Wood View housing development in Gainsborough.

Thanks to the government’s First Homes scheme, first-time buyers can enjoy modern and connected living, as well as the peace and quiet of rural life at Keepmoat’s picturesque Warren Wood View housing development.

Available to local first-time buyers, the First Homes scheme allows potential buyers to purchase a beautiful home at Warren Wood View at a 30% discounted price, including the three-bedroom Danbury semi-detached home from £147,696.

Based on the edge of Gainsborough, just 1.5 miles from the bustling town centre, Warren Wood View is a connectivity hub, with fantastic transport links including nearby bus stops and Gainsborough Central train station all a short walk away, there to connect you to Lincoln, Doncaster, Peterborough and beyond.

Enjoy the development’s vast green open spaces and charming woodland on your doorstep, ready to be explored. If a weekend trip to town is usually on the cards, there are plenty of local amenities to take advantage of as well, including local supermarkets such as Morrisons and Marshall’s Yard retail park, where you can enjoy a spot of shopping, a bite to eat and an afternoon of fun.

With a range of detached and semi-detached two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, along with four stunning show homes available to view, there’s no better time to get in touch with the Keepmoat team and discover everything Warren Wood View and the First Homes scheme has to offer.

For further details visit:

If you’re looking for unique and individualised support for loved ones, to meet their ever changing needs, the caring team at Grosvenor House offers a tailor-made service in the Gainsborough area, enabling those in need to continue to enjoy living at home. Home care, often referred to as supported living or domiciliary care, is a special level of person-centred support which takes place in your own home. For the past 38 years, the Grosvenor House family has helped people to remain living in their own homes, with additional tailored help on hand to suit specific requirements. The friendly and experienced team, which is fully accredited, authorised and regulated by the CQC to provide care in the community, offers a personalised approach to care by making a difference to your day without being a hindrance to your routine.

For more information visit

As a leading supplier of water sports equipment, Wet ‘n’ Wicked is the perfect place to find everything you need to enjoy your favourite water hobbies – whether you are a novice, a seasoned enthusiast, or professional.

Located at Thornton Street in Gainsborough, here you will find all types of quality water sports clothing, such as wet suits, dry suits and changing robes, as well as a huge range of sailing dinghy parts, paddle boards, life jackets, swimming gear and buoyancy aids.

Among the leading brands stocked are Crewsaver, YAK, Typoon, TWF, Sola, Hemple, International, Maypole, Liros, West Systems, Harken, Holt and Seago.

Owners Richard and Harriet Harvey, who have more than 30 years’ sailing and water sports experience themselves, launched Wet ‘n’ Wicked last year after taking over the business from Paul Richards of Morton Boats, a well respected business of 35 years.

“From Morton Boats’ foundations, we are building the business as a general water sports retailer offering a large range of clothing and online presence,” said Richard, a RYA senior dinghy and power boat instructor and assessor for the Scouts.

“We have a huge range of products in stock and are happy to advise on suitability. If we don’t have it, we will happily order specially for customers. We use what we sell, and as parents ourselves we will advise what’s best for children – and if we won’t put it on our children, then we won’t sell it!

“We also offer discounts to a range of organisation members, including Scouts and Guides, as well as Blue Light Card, with account facilities for local sailing clubs and groups, plus free coffee and hot chocolate for all customers!”

Wet ‘n’ Wicked is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am-2pm, other times by appointment. For more information visit

Paul Fox, North Lincolnshire’s leading family run estate agents, are thriving in Marshall’s Yard!

Established in 1990 by Scunthorpe businessman, Mr Paul Fox, the company has five successful branches in Gainsborough, Scunthorpe, Brigg, Barton and Epworth. Paul Fox prides itself on its strong family values, as well as its excellent knowledge of the region’s housing market. Their Gainsborough team of expert valuers and skilled sales negotiators boast about the town being a great place to work and live in. Suzannah Dunbar of Paul Fox said: “We are absolutely loving having a branch based in the heart of Gainsborough! We are a family run, full service estate agent and I believe that this is the cornerstone of our approach to delivering outstanding customer service.”

There is no stone unturned, as Paul Fox covers sales, lettings and surveys. Their lettings team manage a variety of properties and welcome new landlords. Paul Fox also has a RICs qualified survey department carrying out a range of surveying and valuing work. Scan the QR Code on the advertisement to book your FREE no obligation valuation, and quote ‘Lincolnshire Life’ for reduced selling fees!

Tel: 01427 339200 or visit

Stig, a coloured pony who was found and rescued by local equine charity Bransby Horses from a landfill site in Gainsborough, has found a loving new home with a foster owner.

The friendly black and white colt made headlines when he was rescued from the site in January this year, where he had been spotted by council staff who alerted the welfare charity.

An abandonment noticed was served and when no one claimed him, Bransby Horses were able to take him in and start him on a rehabilitation programme.

Bransby Horses’ Perfect Partner Rehoming Scheme offers some of their rescued animals the chance to enjoy life in a carefully selected loan home, freeing up time and space at the charity for the rescue and rehabilitation of others.

To apply to rehome one of Bransby Horses’ equines, find out more about the charity’s work, or to make a donation visit

Queen Elizabeth’s High School in Gainsborough aims to offer an outstanding education by providing an environment in which students are academically challenged, well cared for, and are afforded access to a broad range of fulfilling and enriching co-curricular activities.

With its motto and values of “tradition, achievement and opportunity”, Queen Elizabeth’s High School strives to fulfil the potential of each student.

We aim for high standards in all we do and achieve this through a carefully planned, broad education in which enthusiastic teachers use a variety of teaching styles in activities inside and outside the classroom.

We maintain a friendly and caring atmosphere in which students and staff share a mutual respect.

When they leave Queen Elizabeth’s High School, we want students to be well-balanced adults, inspired to continue their learning and able to contribute positively to society.

Queen Elizabeth’s High School is also committed to the highest possible standards of child protection.

We are committed to working together as a school to ensure that students enjoy and achieve in all of their endeavours. Learning is at the heart of our thinking as a community and we encourage students to grasp opportunities in order to broaden their knowledge, skills and understanding.

To support this we have developed the QEHS Learner Standards. These set out to identify three key areas of focus for learning and are used as a framework for all that we do.

The Learner Standards are as follows:
1. Behaviour for Learning
2. Learning to Learn
3. Leadership for Learning

See the full Admissions Policy on the school website

Located in Marshall’s Yard, The Florist By Blush is an independent, family-run business with a dedicated team of expert florists who create beautiful bespoke designs for all occasions – specialising in arrangements for weddings, funerals and of course Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

The business is in fact an exclusive gold member of the prestigious Good Florist Guide, the only merit based guide in the world of the finest of florists.

Under new ownership since 2019, with a rebrand in 2020, their floral specialists work with fresh and dried flowers sourced from all over the globe, however support UK growers wherever possible – providing fresh and long-lasting blooms to suit all budgets and special requirements.

The Florist By Blush offers a dedicated consultation area within the shop for a private and personalised service for farewell flowers and weddings. The store also has a much talked about range of luxury giftware and homewares, alongside quirky outdoor gifts and decor!

Watch this space for a new website launch featuring all things home and gift.

For more information tel: 01427 612907 or visit the website

The Ingram Arms has been recently refurbished by new owners Donna and Phillip Taylor, who have created a warm and inviting ambience with a cosy log burner and a welcoming team of friendly staff, ensuring a quality service for all visitors.

Ideally situated on Blyton Road in Laughton, The Ingram Arms is a traditional country pub and restaurant with a modern twist.

Here visitors enjoy a warm atmosphere, excellent selection of quality beers and wines, as well as classic cuisine for all tastes and budgets, including Fish Fridays and Sunday lunches, and with choices for vegans and vegetarians.

Unwind with a drink in the cosy bar/lounge area before sampling the range of delicious homemade dishes on the competitively priced menu, which have been lovingly created using locally sourced ingredients.

Join in the fun of the special themed events such as quiz nights, or support your favourite team at televised sporting events throughout the year.

For more information tel: 01427 628465 or find The Ingram Arms – Laughton on Facebook

Photographs: Mick Fox

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